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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TEXAS FAITH: Does firing Juan Williams improve our understanding of religious diversity?

That's this week's question: Are we better off by forbidding some views, some beliefs - however ill-expressed - in an honest discussion of America's view of Islam?

If you wish this article is worth reading, please feel free to comment at the end of the link, you can do thumbs up or down and recommend the article on top of the article

No, we are not better off forbidding any view however ill-expressed in an honest discussion of America's view of Islam. Neither God nor religion should be free from any critical study including Islam and Quraan. Yes, I am a Muslim, and like most Muslims I will defend that freedom to the core – Mike Ghouse

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist, educator and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam, India and Civil Societies. He heads the Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and offers Pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day.  He is available to speak at your school, work or place of worship. He is a conflict mitigater and a goodwill nurturer. Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Juan Williams defines Muslim garbs

1. Juan Williams is frightened when he sees Muslim 'garbs', really?
2. Juan Williams is pandering to the fears of the "frightened”*
3. Juan Williams signs up $2 Million contract
4. Juan Williams makes a fool of the right wingers
5. Juan Williams - http://tinyurl.com/2al7s2j
6.  Juan Williams - http://tinyurl.com/27zx43n


The frightened souls are those who seek a false sense of security by creating chaos and pitch one American against the other.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

Juan Williams -Sean Hannity show with Ghouse

1:30 CST PM Thursday, October 21, 2010
Actual Show Script will be added as a link.  

Freedom of speech must be guarded and defended at any cost; ultimately truth triumphs over every thing and is certainly truth is sustainable. However to have the moral courage to defend that freedom, its application must be universal and not selective.

Fox is defending Juan Williams saying that he followed it up by supporting Muslims, but that sound byte has done a lot of damage.  It reminded me of my encounter with Sean Hannity and Brigit Gabrielle on the Hannity Radio Show on Thursday, October 21, 2010.

Sean Hannity reads the words off my Blog on the air, “You said, it is good for America that Juan is fired” and jumps on to the free speech bit.  I asserted, “Sean, you did not read the next sentence and the last sentence”

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Purple day today 10202010


To commemorate the suicide of 6 young boys who were harassed and driven to committ suicide. This reflects un-civility on our part. We have to work for a society, where everyone's space, culture, ethnicity, sexual orientation and belief is respected. If you can wear or show purple today, it reflects your support for the innocent victims.

Please take the time to watch this 12 minute video. I salute the council man Joe you for standing up for them, it is the duty of whole humanity to do that. Joel, You have restored my faith in you as a human, unburdened by bias propagated by self appointed guardians of religions... to feel the pain and to stand up for the oppressed is what religion teaches one to be, every religion indeed.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax96cghOnY4

Americans Together
An initiative of the Foundation for Pluralism & World Muslim

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Should Christians (and other non-Hindus) beware of yoga?

Courtesy: Dallas Morning News, Texas faith Panel. The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, caused a stir with a recent column decrying the practice of yoga by Christians.

Mohler seems to be threatened with the popularity of Yoga, a beautiful practice to bring composure to oneself. He is obsessed with the idea that Yoga is a bait to lure his congregation away into “a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a `post-Christian, spiritually polyglot’ reality”, and then he asks, “Should any Christian willingly risk that?” How mistaken can one be? Yoga is not a mutually exclusive practice, nor is it a religion; it is indeed a catalyst in achieving the union of mind and body that is central to all spirituality.

Yoga is neither Christian nor Hindu; it is a beautiful gift that originated in India for the benefit of mankind to function cohesively.  All individuals and nations should give and receive the good without labeling it.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Pluralism and Islam offering pluralistic solutions to the media and public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quran (Koran) Conference in Dallas, an American effort to build cohesive societies

The Conference puts a Quraan in the hands of panelists made up of Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, lay persons, elected officers and the public. It is to demystify the myths about Quraan and Islam. An American effort to build cohesive societies.


Oct 10, 2010 - DALLAS, TEXAS - The Foundation for Pluralism and the World Muslim Congress have announced a conference on Quraan in Dallas to be held between 3:00 PM and 6 PM on Sunday, December 5, 2010 at the Unity Church of Dallas.  

Representing the organizations, Mike Ghouse adds, "As members of diverse family of faiths, we seek to demystify the myths and falsification of our respective faiths. It is time for all of us to gather and understand the Qur'aan, the holy book of Muslims, which has been the subject of attack by a few among us. Indeed, the conference is a positive response to negative sermons delivered from a few pulpits of America this year."

The uniqueness of the event is highlighted by facing the "terrifying passages" of Quraan.  For the first time in history, the actual verses from Quraan will be read directly and explained by non-Muslim panelists made up of Pastors, Rabbis, Pundits, Shamans, Clergy, lay persons and elected officials who have a deep interest in bringing Americans together on common grounds.  The Muslim scholars either affirm their reading or refer to the Quraan for further understanding. It would be indeed a first hand educational experience.

It is time now to replace the ill-will with goodwill; no American has to live in anxieties, discomfort or fear of the other. The purpose of this conference is to remove such myths in an open forum in the public and restore the cohesiveness of our society and work towards building a safe and secure America.  

Bring your children to experience the multi-cultural costumes in a designated room for them.

Refreshments will be served after the event.


Please R.S.V.P. to confirmattendance@gmail.com  
Direct your inquiries to QuraanConference@gmail.com .

For details visit website http://www.quraanconference.com/

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist, educator and an activist of Pluralism, Interfaith, Islam and Civil Societies. He heads the Foundation for Pluralism and World Muslim Congress and offers Pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day.  Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Monday, October 4, 2010

Islam Debate on ABC TV with Amanpour

Link included below

This is one of the most beautiful things about America, radical right can sit with the moderates and both can give and receive crap. It was heartfelt and heart full of conversation.

Daisy hammered several nails right on, she could have hammered one more nail on Terry Jones story. She said the evangelists said no to Terry, told the world that he did not represent Christianity... by the same logic Osama Bin Laden or that idiot Anjum Chowdhury from UK does not represent Islam.

Thank God for Reza Aslan to speak out boldly against Robert Spencer, who had made a life out of selling hate. Reza hit it big when he said, he would rather believe FBI than Spencer.
I hope Daisy will add, " we want to build a society that others want to emulate and not the other way around".
Indian democracy is as beautiful, with the High court pronouncement on Ayodhya, there are many  men and women of India;  Hindu, Sikh, Muslims are writing and debating the issue from an Indian point and not religious point.
First let's be a model nation, and when we have the guts to be right, we can cast the first stone on Saudi Arabia for them the wake up... and have a model to follow. 

Riveting debate tele-cast today, it is worth preserving.

It was a good watch
Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Islam and Pluralism offering pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/ 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In defense of Islam, pursuing a civil dialogue


12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, September 19, 2010

Over and over you hear it said: If Muslims oppose terrorism, why don't they stand up and say it?

If that has been you, Mike Ghouse ought to be your hero.

It is hard to imagine that anyone has worked harder than the Carrollton resident to demonstrate the peaceful and moderate side of Islam.

And that effort includes personally visiting Dallas' First Baptist Church last Sunday just to put a friendly face on the "evil, evil religion" that the Rev. Robert Jeffress denounced a few weeks before.

"It was wonderful," Ghouse said of the visit. "We were so warmly received."

He hopes a quick chat with Jeffress will be the start of deeper discussion about Islam and the importance of respect between religions.

"I want to have a dialogue with him, not to say he is wrong but to share another point of view," Ghouse said.

The 57-year-old Muslim was born in India and has lived in the United States for 30 years. He owns a small property management firm. But most of his day is devoted to building bridges between people of different faiths.

"It is my passion," he said in his distinctive raspy voice.

He has been a guest a dozen times on Sean Hannity's TV and radio talk shows. "I don't like the way Sean cuts me off, but I have to honor him for giving the American public a semblance of another point of view."

Ghouse said he can understand fear and criticism of Islam because he went through a time of similar feelings. As a teen, he was troubled by passages of the Quran. He called himself an atheist for a while.

But he said deeper study led him to realize the Quran had been purposely mistranslated down through history.

In the Middle Ages, European leaders commissioned a hostile Quran translation to foster warfare against Muslim invaders.

Later, Muslim leaders produced another translation to inflame Muslims against Christians and Jews.

"It was all for politics," he said.

Ghouse said he hopes to present Jeffress with a modern, faithful translation and challenge him to find evil verses.

"If he can, I will convert. I will join his church," Ghouse said. "If he can't, I will call on him to retract his statements and become a peacemaker."

Ghouse acknowledges that deep problems persist within Islam. "Three steps forward, two steps back," he said with a sigh.

And he agrees that mainstream Muslims have not done enough to counter violent images of their faith.

"That is very true," he said. "But part of it is that many Muslims have given up hope that we will ever be heard."

He said repeated denunciations of terrorism seem to fall on deaf ears.

And some efforts have backfired – like the proposed Islamic information center in New York. He said it should be hailed for furthering the moderate Muslim cause.

Instead, it has deepened hostility toward Muslims.

I have been astounded by the amount of anti-Islam propaganda that circulates via e-mail. Tons of it has come my way in the last few weeks.

One theme is that people like Mike Ghouse can't be trusted, that Islam encourages deception.

But Ghouse says actions speak louder than words. And he points to elections in Muslim nations.

More than half of Muslims live in countries with some degree of democracy. And time and time again, Islamist parties are overwhelmingly rejected in favor of secular, mainstream parties.

"The religious parties don't get more than 3 percent of the vote," Ghouse said.

Polls show deep mistrust of Muslims. "But the most important question in those surveys is: 'Do you know anything about Islam?' " Ghouse said. "Most people say no."

What keeps him going is faith in Americans, he said.

"The majority of Americans, if they know the truth, they will change their minds."
Posted by Mike Ghouse at 7:50 PM

Reflections on the Verdict on Babri Masjid Dispute in India

Reflections on the Verdict on Babri Masjid Dispute in India 
Mirza A. Beg

Dear Mirza,
I am so pleased to read your musings (below) on the subject and compelled to write this, just want you to know that there is whole lot of Muslim who will see the wisdom in your write up and admire it.

Please be prepared for the onslaught from a few (just a few Sir) shortsighted Muslims among us,  they will jump at you and all we can do is pray that Allah give us the wisdom to have a vision devoid of emotions but concreted with a dignified space for future generation of Muslims.

It is easy to fan the emotions, but difficult to pause, ponder and bring the change we want.

Unlike the Cordoba House in New York, which I vigorously supported, for the values of co-existence it was planting in America, a Muslim contribution towards co-existence.  

Let me share a thought that is not popular but something we have to munch on.

We could not have yielded to the Radical forces of the Hindu right in the past, no one should, and there is no end to placating them.

The atmosphere at this moment is good, and I think Muslims should offer that piece of land to the Hindus to build Ram Temple; it will build a lot of goodwill. There are thousands of dilapidated and abandoned Mosques all over the country, particularly in UP where many of those Mosques are half sunk in dirty water with water buffaloes swimming around. We need to focus on them as well. 

We will have a moral upper hand for the first time in years by being generous, by giving and by showing the will power to give up… That is the Tyaag of our egos' we can submit and Insha Allah, it will up our psyche.

We need to rebuild our self-esteem by giving and by being good people, good humans, and charitable people. God has given us this opportunity we should seriously consider.

I understand the reservations, but I trust the Indian majority who has always followed the dharma of being just and righteous.  Should the RSS and BJP continue to harass Muslims, and if they pick on another issues, then the majority of Hindu population will speak up, as they have always done. I trust our ethos, and our heritage of goodness.

Thank you for appealing to the sanity.

Mike Ghouse
Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Islam and Pluralism offering pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Reflections on the Verdict on Babri Masjid Dispute in India 
Mirza A. Beg
Friday, October 01, 2010

On Thursday September 30, 2010 India exhaled a collective sigh of relief.  With approximately 200,000, security forces deployed on high alert in north India, a three judge panel of High Court in the Northern Province of Utter Pradesh rendered its verdict on the intractable issue of Babri Masjid (Mosque). This issue has been festering since before the birth of the Indian Republic in,1947 and has claimed thousands of innocent lives in reoccurring riots.

The angst-ridden judgment is unsatisfactory to all parties, but it is a relief nevertheless. The court divided the land of the demolished Babri Masjid in the town of Ayodhya in three equal parts. A third to be given to the extremist Hindus who demolished the Masjid, claiming that very spot to be the birth place of the deity Lord Ram; a third to the Hindu sect that had set up a temple in the vicinity and a third to the Muslims who owned the demolished Masjid.  

The court is clear in its verdict, but nebulous in its dubious reasoning. That is its weakness, but it may be its strength as well. It can be seen as a reverse Solomon-like judgment, or a cowardly cop out – part of a loaf for all sides or defeat for all. Perhaps both are correct.

If one believes in the pristine ideal of justice being blind to all except the evidence, the judgment is terrible. But if one calculates the cost of the thousands of innocent lives already lost over the years that never got justice and is also aware of the possibility of many more lives being lost in the ensuing mayhem, one has to think, justice for whom?

Babri Masjid was built about the year 1528, after the first Mughal Emperor Babar conquered the north Indian plains. After three hundred years, in 1853 it was claimed to be the birth place of Lord Ram. About a hundred years later, in 1949 idols of Lord Ram were stealthily placed in the sanctuary of the Babri Masjid. Claims and counter claims were filed in the court. The courts have been loath to decide this intractable case, loaded with emotions and ever lurking danger of wide-spread sectarian strife. It has plagued the body politic of India for the last sixty years, resulting in many riots.
On December 6, 1992, orchestrated by the extremist Hindu political party BJP, a mob tore down the Babri Masjid brick by brick in about six long hours, while the government fidgeted impotently. In spite of being threatened, the press televised parts of the event all over the world. In the immediate aftermath, riots broke out at many places, the worst being in Mumbai. It claimed the lives of over 2,000 innocent people mostly from the minority Muslim community. The BJP succeeded in poisoning the minds of enough people to form a minority government in the next general election.  After more than a decade of many more engineered riots, the Indian electorate had had enough and the secular parties came back to power.
The judges were under pressure to dispose off this intractable cancer. They took a bold step to reach a verdict, albeit flawed.  

On purely legal grounds the judgment should have been easy. It is beyond the jurisdiction of a secular court to decide the divinity of Lord Ram or the impossible task of determining the exact spot of his birth more than three thousand years ago. After fifty years of evasion the court took it upon itself to determine if there existed an older temple devoted to Lord Ram before the Babri Masjid was built. The Archaeological Survey of India found no positive evidence. The evidence was unclear to put it mildly.

But the image of the deity Lord Ram is very real in the hearts, minds and lives of millions of devout Hindus, an overwhelming majority in India. Religion is a very potent force, easily exploited.  Ordinary decent Hindus do not realize, they have been manipulated, just as other religious communities fall victim to exploitation of their religions. Therefore, it was the political conundrum, an impossible task before the court to adjudicate.

is a young secular democracy, with more rights for its minorities than many other countries. It is far from perfect. Even older more established democracies fall prey to emotional propaganda in difficult times of economic or political uncertainty. India has a long way to go and most thoughtful Indians from all communities know it.

They know that narrow views of history cast long shadows in many countries and societies, inciting violence and impeding development of civil societies. No place on Earth is occupied by its original inhabitants. Invasion and occupation by successive invaders has been the norm. It has given rise to contested histories by ethnic and religious groups that adhere to a subjective narrative of the beginning of the history to their advantage. India has a long very rich history of rise and fall of great civilizations and empires, going back to about 3,000 BCE. The early narratives of history rest on a plinth that is part myths and legends with sparse records.
In the last two hundred years, the world has come to realize that the domination of the weak by the strong is the root of all wars. The development of multi-ethnic, multi religious democracies is an antidote to an endemic cycle of wars. They have not quite succeeded yet, but they are poised to break that endemic cycle in favor of equality and guaranteed rights to all the inhabitants of a country under a secular constitution.
One hopes that this perceived flawed judgment of the court would lay the deadly conundrum of Babri Masjid to rest. It will give a breathing space and a chance to thoughtful Indians to build a better and more harmonious future and not fall prey to sectarian forces lurking in the shadows of our baser nature.

Mirza A. Beg can be reached at mab64@yahoo.com, or http://mirzasmusings.blogspot.com/

Mahatma Gandhi's birthday today

Mahatma Gandhi's birthday today

Mahatma Gandhi is one of the five humans on the planet who has impacted my life profoundly. He was a messenger of peace; his language nourished reconciliation, and his actions encouraged co-existence. Whether it is the conflict between Hindus or Muslims or with the British Raj, his words mitigated conflicts and directed one's thoughts and actions towards solutions.
He was one of the most powerful leaders we have had in the last two centuries. He did not want anything for himself, nor did he want to control anything or lead any one. All he wanted to do was create a society of mutual respect and co-existence. Every one always wonders how did he get to make people listen to his message of non-violence?
The answer is simple; People knew, he gained nothing from what he did, but instead they gained from his effort. Indeed, those who are un-selfish have invincible moral strength. Nothing frightens them or cows them down. You will find the same commitment and moral strength in Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Rama, Buddha, Zoroaster, Mahavira, Confucius, Nanak, Baha'u'llah, Mother Teresa and so many other great souls.
Muhammad is my other mentor who had all the power on the earth during his life time but lived a simple life, and told his own daughter that she ain't going to get a free pass to God, she has to earn it by doing good deeds, i.e., doing things for other's good. Every one of the above teacher's strength lie in one simple thing: Their sense of justice was strong as a mountain and they were absolutely un-selfish.
Mahatma Gandhi's non-Violence movement is a model that will last for centuries to come. Every great teacher listed above has taught the same message over and over again. The idea is that there is a balance of energy in every human, doing bad things deflates that energy and doing good things recoups it. You may have experienced the elated feeling of having a great day, when you helped someone in dire need. Non-Violence is a belief that the tyrant is blessed with the same energy, but is not aware of it and we have to help him realize it after enduring the suffering. Fighting out may bear the result for short run, but in the long run, the fighting and the avenging continues. Whereas the non-violence method of achieving the objective is sustainable, justice ultimately brings lasting peace, and non-violence sustains it, violence disturbs the balance.

I have a special connection with the Mahatma, and am making this disclosure. I have met the Mahatma twice in my dreams; first time was way back in 1971 when the Mahatma, the Vice Chancellor of Bangalore University Dr. Narsimaiah and I were talking over a meal and he gave a pat on my back and told me that I have a lot of work to do. Then again in 2005, I saw him smiling at me encouraging me to continue with the work of Pluralism.

My message on this day is watching what you say; does it conflagrate the dialogue, does it make the opposing parties dig in? or does it propel people to work towards solutions. You can apply this formula at your work, home or any situation and see the difference. Be a winner, by making the others a winner too.

Mahatma Gandhi probably would have endorsed my view that, if we can learn to accept and respect the God given uniqueness to each one of seven billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge. That is the mission of the foundation for pluralism.

Today, October 2nd is Mahatma's birthday, may this day make our leaders think, and believe that there is a greater joy in creating peace. Today, also happens to be my late wife Najma's birthday. May she rest in peace.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker on Islam and Pluralism offering pluralistic solutions to the media and the public on issues of the day. His blogs and sites are listed at www.MikeGhouse.net

Pictures from Gandhi Walk 2009 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157625074293900/

From Last year’s Gandhi Walk in Dallas
Add a caption

Gandhi Peace Walk-2009 in Dallas. Mahatma Gandhi is one of my mentors; I look up to him for guidance when a conflict surfaces, I ponder over his solutions. He was a Pluralist, a man who believed every human has the same rights as the other; he respected the otherness of other and accepted different manifestations of religion. Not that it matters to any, but he has been in dream twice, way back in early 70’s and in about 2003. He just pats on my shoulder and says, son you have work to do. I am blessed to receive his blessings. (Next Para)

THIS PHOTO: Suri (Secretary, Niranjan (President elect), Dr. Sharma (India consulate General), Akram (President), Mike, Taiyab (former President) India Association of North Texas
The India Association of North Texas (Dallas) took the initiative and has begun the first of the peace walks and will continue for generations to come. (Next Para)

Here is a press release prior to the event. (Next Para)

For Immediate Release
Contact: Akram Syed, 214-395-3707 president@iant.org
Peace Walk to Mark Mahatma Gandhi’s Birthday

In commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary week, the India Association of North Texas will hold a Gandhi Peace Walk on Saturday, October 3, 2009 at Spring Trail Park 5964 Riverside Dr Irving, 75039.

The walk starts at 10:00 AM, the event is free and you are invited to participate and encouraged to bring canned food to donate to local food banks.

Mahatma Gandhi is a global non-violence hero and a peace advocate. He witnessed injustices in the pre-independent British-ruled India and decided to liberate and free the people of the subcontinent from the clutches of the imperial rule. He launched the famous non-cooperation movement along with several marches inspiring millions of people which led the British to declare India’s independence and the creation of new states that form the present day South Asia. All this was carried out in a non-violent and peaceful manner. We are proud to remember and salute this legendary messiah of Peace and Non-violence.